Coupling (physics)

Coupling (physics)

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In physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, two systems are coupled if they are interacting
Interaction
Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. The idea of a two-way effect is essential in the concept of interaction, as opposed to a one-way causal effect...

 with each other. Of special interest is the coupling of two (or more) vibratory systems (e.g. pendula
Pendulum
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced from its resting equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position...

 or resonant circuits) by means of spring
Spring (device)
A spring is an elastic object used to store mechanical energy. Springs are usually made out of spring steel. Small springs can be wound from pre-hardened stock, while larger ones are made from annealed steel and hardened after fabrication...

s or magnetic field
Magnetic field
A magnetic field is a mathematical description of the magnetic influence of electric currents and magnetic materials. The magnetic field at any given point is specified by both a direction and a magnitude ; as such it is a vector field.Technically, a magnetic field is a pseudo vector;...

s, etc. Characteristic for a coupled oscillation is the effect of beat
Beat (acoustics)
In acoustics, a beat is an interference between two sounds of slightly different frequencies, perceived as periodic variations in volume whose rate is the difference between the two frequencies....

.

The concept of coupling is particularly important in physical cosmology
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...

, in which various forms of matter
Matter
Matter is a general term for the substance of which all physical objects consist. Typically, matter includes atoms and other particles which have mass. A common way of defining matter is as anything that has mass and occupies volume...

 gradually decouple and recouple
Recombination (cosmology)
In cosmology, recombination refers to the epoch at which charged electrons and protons first became bound to form electrically neutral hydrogen atoms.Note that the term recombination is a misnomer, considering that it represents the first time that electrically neutral hydrogen formed. After the...

 between each other.

Coupling is also important in physics for the generation of plasma
Plasma (physics)
In physics and chemistry, plasma is a state of matter similar to gas in which a certain portion of the particles are ionized. Heating a gas may ionize its molecules or atoms , thus turning it into a plasma, which contains charged particles: positive ions and negative electrons or ions...

s. In electrical discharges, the coupling of an exciting field and a medium creates plasmas. The quality of the coupling of an exciting field of given frequency to a charged particle depends on resonance
Resonance
In physics, resonance is the tendency of a system to oscillate at a greater amplitude at some frequencies than at others. These are known as the system's resonant frequencies...

.

See also

  • Coupling constant
    Coupling constant
    In physics, a coupling constant, usually denoted g, is a number that determines the strength of an interaction. Usually the Lagrangian or the Hamiltonian of a system can be separated into a kinetic part and an interaction part...

  • Frequency classification of plasmas
    Frequency classification of plasmas
    Electrical discharges applied in a plasma source for the generation of plasmas can be classified by the frequency of the exciting field. A rough classification is:*Direct current discharge *Pulsed DC discharge...

  • Spin spin coupling
  • Spin-orbit coupling